MAY, 1945



*• Sir,

In view of Mr. Clutton’s letter in the September issue of MOTOR SPORT, I wish to correct my description of Lyndon Duckett’s Mercedes in the July issue.

The 1907 G.P. cars had a bore and stroke of 175 by 150 mm., while in 1908 the winning car had a bore and stroke of 155 by 180 mm. Lyndon’s car is apparently a hybrid, in that its bore and stroke measurements are 175 by 180 mm. Apart from this discrepancy, it seems similar to the 1907 G.P. cars and is even reputed to have run in the French Grand Prix of that year.

F/Lt. Bentley described the car in the Autocar on July 28th, but said that it had four plugs per cylinder and a 5-speed gearbox. Actually the car has three plugs per cylinder and a 4-speed box. My description indicated that there is only one camshaft, whereas actually there are two—one operating the overhead inlet valves and the other operating the side exhaust valves. Also the ignition system was originally a combination of low tension (to two plugs per cylinder) and H.T. to the remaining plug—not completely L.T. as described. Another letter in the Autocar of September 8th, from Mr. Edward Mayer, describes a 1907 G.P. Mercedes once owned by him. The clutch on Mr. Mayer’s car is the “shoe and spiral spring affair” described by Mr. Clutton in his letter. Further investigation has shown that Duckett’s Mercedes also has this type of clutch— not a cone type as indicated in both F/Lt. Bentley’s and my own descriptions. Also F/Lt. Bentley mentions a maximum speed of 125 m.p.h., which I think is rather optimistic. Finally, the history of the car is not quite exact. The car was brought to Australia by a Mr. Colin Smith, of Sydney, and was subsequently sold to the Cornwall family in 1912, not imported by the Cornwalls as stated by F/Lt. Bentley. Hence it is definitely the car mentioned by Mr. Anthony Heal in his letter in the Autocar of September 22nd. Mr. Heal mentions that, in 1910, the car was being practically rebuilt, as it had been found

too fast and powerful for Australian roads.” Perhaps the stroke was altered at this time.

Please forgive these errors, which were the result of basing our descriptions on second-hand information. I note that Mr. Harold Pratley com

mented on the position of the exhaust pipe on the model Austin, mentioned in my article. He would have had far more cause for criticism had he known the model had i.f.s. ! This was an inexcusable ” howler ” and shows what can happen when one is separated from works of reference. However, this mistake is being rectified. Your condensed version of my letter gave the impression that David Hawker was having the Talbot engine from his

Australian car fitted to an Atalanta chassis. Actually it was the engine from an Alpine Talbot, that he had in England, that was being fitted to an Atalanta chassis. The car that he has in Australia is an earlier racing model, and is still complete. Marcus Chambers’s article “Preserve

or Perish” has given many people an uneasy feeling. However, while I disagree with people fitting mass-produced Ford V8 and similar motors into quality sports chassis, I think that when the original motor is unsatisfactory, or has been ruined, then the fitting of another good motor is justified (e.g., the twino.h.c. Anzani engine in Duckett’s Type 87 Bugatti). Incidentally, in John Bentley’s letter to the Autocar this car was wrongly referred to as a ” twin-cam ” Type 40 Bugatti. Since writing my last letter, Peter

Williams and I have purchased a genuine “Red Label,” Van den Pins 3-litre Bentley (engine No. 1077, chassis No. 1054). This has been on blocks since 1987, and is now liberally coated in dirt, etc. However, it is in quite good condition and is complete except for tyres and battery. I have made plans to rebuild my

Vauxhall ” 80/98 ” as soon as I get some home leave. I just missed getting a more recent edition a few weeks ago. This car (0E297) has the counter-balanced crankshaft, Vauxhall hydraulic brakes and a special close-ratio gearbox. It was raced by John Dutton and could exceed 100 m.p.h. Despite a hard life it is still in good condition, and I am sorry that I missed getting it. With our stable steadily growing and

the V.S.C.C. of Australia flourishing, the outlook is very bright for post-war Sport. However, I regret that my great friend and fellow enthusiast, F/Lt. Nigel Pugh, was killed when his fighter aircraft crashed into the sea on May 29th. He wrote a letter to you, which you published under the title of “Australian Veteran and Vintage” in the February, 1943, issue of MOTOR SPORT, and I have mentioned him in my own letters as owner of one of the 1930 T.T. Austins, and partner in sundry motoring activities. His loss is a great blow to our scuderia. I am, Yours, etc.,

ROBERT HOOD (Sgt.). Victoria,